tv AB Cs World News With Charles Gibson ABC July 27, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
tonight, surging sales. new home sales rise by the largest margin in nine years. people have begun to buy. police call, recordings of a 911 call give new insight into the arrest of henry louis gates. weighty matter. new report puts the cost of obesity related health care in america at $147 billion a year. test of faith. a female episcopal priest creates a controversy and pays a high price by becoming a muslim. and the movie that is so bad, high price by becoming a muslim. and the movie that is so bad, it's become a classic. captions paid foby abc, inc. good evening. normally the monthly report on new home sales might occasion a yawn or two. but now, economists, government officials, even reporters awaits each month's report with anticipation, looking for some
sign the housing market has turned and recent miserable on comicontions may be ending. well, today we got a burst of good news. sales of newly constructed homes shot up 11% in je. that's the biggest monthly gain since the year 2000. and far better than economists had expected. chris bury is in north aurora, illinois. chris. >> good evening, charlie. no one is unquiching any champagne but for the third straight monthly builders, including the one here are reporting a significant spike in sales. in this sprawling development, a welcome sign in the economy. buyers are tip toeing back. >> do you think you've hit bottom? >> if we haven't hit bottom i don'see it getting much worse. i think the market is starting to stabilize. >> the june jump of new home sales is strongest in n the midwest and west. around des moines iowa the new
homes schrank a whopping 40%. >> we have shorter sales times and number of sales up exponentially from a year ago. >> reporter: june numbers are bouncing off the basement floor. naturally sales are way down, more than 20% from 2008. still, economists encouraged. >> good news is the direction is right. we're finally moving up and moving up more rapidly than some >>at gneood wsd . or rr:teep new a hesom es ceec pses rices have tumbled. a year ago the meet yan home sold for more than $234,000. last month, 206,000. a 12% drop. builders are also dangling incentives. in iowa, john russell and meredith steen got upgraded siding, windows and cabinets. also took advantage of uncle sam's new tax credit. $8,000 for first-time buyers. >> we decided to save money and
mortgage rates bowing so low we decided to build and get what we wanted. >> reporter: as housing ledded way into the recession it could signal the path out. housing makes up such a huge sector in the economy doesn't take much of a bump to make a big impact. >> it's been such a drag on the economy for four years. the fact it's moving into the positive territory that's a significant shift momentum for the u.s. economy. >> reporter: housing numbers suggest a modest recovery is under way. but economists say stopping the bleeding could have a huge impact on the overall u.s. economy. charlie. >> all right. chris bury. thanks, reporting from north aurora, illinois. on the money, on wall street traders took the housing report in stride. dow industrials were up only 15 points, nasdaq up two. one drag on the market was a report from verizon communication showing profits fell 21% in the second quarter. company said it will lay offer 8,000 workers by year's end.
and nationwide price of gasoline was up 4 cents to an average 2.50 a gallon bringing annd to the month-long series of declines in the price at the pump. it's ten days since harvard professor henry louis gates was arrested after he and another man broke into gates' home. today they released 911 call to the police and communications on the radio. recordings answer some questions but certainly not all. here's yunji de nies. >> reporter: cambridge city officials say they are releasing the tapes to put ts incident behind them. >> no way we can go forward if there is any lingering doubt of anything being hidden. >> reporter: and so, they made public the phone call that started it all. >> can you tell me exactly what happened? >> um, i don't know what's happening. i just had a, uh, older woman standing here and she had noticed two gentlemen trying to get in a house. >> reporter: the caller, lucia whalen, walking by on a
lunch break, is clearly confused by what she sees. >> and they kind of had to barge in and they broke the screen door and they finally got in ad when i -- and looked, i went closer to the house a little bit after the gentlemen were already in the house, i noticed two suitcases. so, i'm not sure if these are two individuals who actually work there or maybe live there. >> reporter: contrary to the police report, whalen does not specify that the men are black. >> were they white, black or hispanic? >> um, well, they were two larger men. one looked kind of hispanic, but i'm not really sure. and the other one entered and i didn't see what he looked like at all. >> reporter: whalen's attorney says her client is outraged at the accusation that she was the racist spark that ignited this controversy. >> when you hear what she said to the 911 operator, that's anything but the truth. she never described the men as black, ever, never used the word black, ever. >> reporter: when sergeant crowley arrives at the scene, he radios headquarters and it's clear gates has told him he lives there. >> a -- gentleman says he resides here, but uncooperative.
uh, keep the cars coming. >> copy. >> reporter: cambridge police say the tapes will provide a learning experience. >> >> after going through this experience, i already have identified a number of things for myself, the department that we can do differently, do better. lot of questions because there are no tapes of what exactly transpired between gates and crowley. the sergeant is back on the beat tonight and the city of cambridge is ready to move on. charlie. >> yunji de nies in cambridge, massachusetts. there's a new study that shows texting while driving is by far the most driving distraction. it was conducted with long-haul trkers but the high risk associated with texting applies to all drivers. director of the study said texting is in its own universe a risk. here's jonathan karl. >> reporter: texting while driving -- it may be more dangerous than drunk driving.
a new study of truck drivers finds that when they are texting behind the wheel, they are 23-times more likely to crash. the shocking statistic shows texting is far more dangerous than other forms of distracted driving. studies have shown that drivers talking on cell phones are four-times more likely to crash, about the same as driving drunk. >> anyone who says they can text and drive is misleading themself, and even worse. they are going to be killing other people on the highway. >> reporter: to conduct the study, virginia tech transportation institute equipped vehicles with video cameras for an 18- month period. according to the study, drivers who crashed or nearly crashed spent an average of five seconds looking at their text devises. at 55 miles per hour, that's about long enough to cover the distance of a football field. >> lots ofesearch and other areas of highway safety has shown that what gets drivers to change their behavior is a strong law, strongly enforced. >> reporter: texting has also proved deadly for mass transit operators.
last year, texting was blamed for a commuter train crash that killed 25 in los angeles. and earlier this year, a trolley conductor in boston who was texting ran a red light and injured 49 people. just today, senator chuck schumer introduced a bill to ban texting by transit operators. but in most of the country, driving while texting is perfectly legal. only 14 states ban it. jonathan karl, abc news, capitol hill. overseas next to israel, which is under pressure from the white house to stop construction of west bank settlements. the president special envoy george mitchell reiterated israel must start dealing with the settlement issue but the president's call a freeze on construction is getting the coldest of shoulders from jerusalem. here's simon mcgregor-wood. >> reporter: this is israel's answer to the obama
administration's demands to freeze settlement construction --more building. and the number of settlers is higher than ev before. the israeli military announced today over 3,000 now live on land palestinians want for their new state. israel's refusal to stop the building is putting real strain on relations between the obama administration and prime minister binyamin netanyahu. at this settlement just outside jerusalem, they are building 200 new apartments this year. they want to build 900 next year. unless president obama can persuade the israelis to stop this kind of project, his dream of middle east peace may remain just a dream. >> he will have to send a clear message to netanyahu, that if the settlements don't stop, israel will pay for it. >> reporter: and in damascus sunday, cairo this morning and ramallah tonight, special envoy george mitchell heard the same refrain --no peace talks until the settlements stop. but pre minister netanyahu is boxed in by a fragile right wing coalition and the settlers who voted for it. like the residents of talmon, a
settlement where the government just approved another 250 new houses. >> we have a lot of children. our children are probably going to want to stay here. they have every right. they grew up here. it's their place. it's our place. >> reporter: a place they insist must grow, defying president obama's call for a freeze. and in jerusalem tonight, a rare sight. hundreds of settler sending the same message to the president. "no you can't." seem ng mcgregor-wood, abc news, jerusalem. back in this country, president obama welcomed chinese leaders to washington today for two days of high level talks. he said the two countries' relationship will shape the 21st century and both will benefit on the cooperation on climate to economy. but we learned today the chinese has been blocking a number of abc bls including the world newser. chun na bans access to some
websites usually with no explanation. still ahead new obesity studies that look at wallets, not waistlines. health officials reveal the cost of overweight america. >>. the female priest who said jesus led her to become a muslim. a test of faith. and it's one of the worst movies ever made. unbelievably bad and people can't get enough of it.
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avodart. help take care .of your growing problem america has an obesity epidemic. it's evident everywhere among every age group. federal health officials called a meeting in washington. cdc experts laid out the spirals cost america's obesity health care spending is $147 billion a year. sharyn alfonsi reports health officials want new ways to tackle the problem. i got this body eating burgers! >> reporter: put aside the health risks, obesity is expensive. new research shows the cost of treatianhe t obese is weighing more heavily on the country than ever before. a normhe weight person spends about $3,400 on medical expenses every year. an obese person, nearly $4,900. driving those costs --
prescription drugs. a person of normal weight spends about $700 a year. an obese person, almost $1,300. those figures were released today at a cdc conference on obesity. the first government conference of its kind, addressing the so-called weight of the nation. >> if you go with the flow in america you'll end up overweight or obese. it's not a result of change in our genes, what changed is our environment. >> reporter: so after years of trying and failing to get individuals to make healthy choices, the cdc is now lobbying lawmakers to take the lead. encouraging them to slim their cities by doing everything from creating parks to moving schools within walking distance of residential areas. but who will pay for it all? health officials seem to like the idea of a federal soda tax. they say we consume 250 more calories a day than we did 20 years ago and most of those calories come from a soda can.
adding a tax of three cents a year to high-calorie sodas could generate $24 billion over the next four years. opponents argue americans won't tolerate another tax. still, supporters say it could cut health care costs and america's ever- expanding bottom line, all at once. sharyn alfonsi, abc news, new york. and coming up. one woman, two churches. the priest whose interfaith crisis cost her dearly. so she can watch me cook. you just love the aromas of beef tenderloin... and, ooh, rotisserie chicken. yes, you do. [ barks ] yeah. you're so special, you deserve a very special dog food. [ woman ] introducing chef michael's canine creations. the deliciously different way to serve up your love at mealtime. chef-inspired. dog-desired. chef michael's canine creations. when morning comes in the middle of the night,
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the the former quarterback from the atlanta falcons michael vick has been reinstated with p conditions from roger goodell, he spent nearly two years for bang rolling a dogfight operation. after a suspension, he would be eligible to play in october. a former female priest who spent more than two decades in the episcopal church is now speaking out after being defrocked becausshembr another faith. today ann holmes reading calls her a christian and muslim but her move to islam came at a very high price.
dan harris reports on this woman's test of faith. >> reporter: ann holmes reading was an episcopal priest until a test of faith. several years ago while mourning the death of her mother, she was trying an islamic meditation technique she learned in an interfaith class. that is, she says when it happened. >>. >> it came with such clarity and power i could understand it nothing else as an invitation from god. >> reporter: she said it was jesus himself who led you to islam. >> you think jesus led you to become a muslim? >> yes. i know it doesn't make sense to people. >> reporter: now reading not only plays in church but also plays five times a day to allah.
>> in islam jesus is viewed as a prove et not son of good. >> reporter: this spring the episcopal church revoked redding's right to be a priest. >> being defrocked, i would imagine is a pretty dramatic experience. >> yes. that's an united states statement, to imagine not being involved intimately in the dilis of believing people, helping them understand their relationship and calling. baptizing babies. >> reporter: it's a big loss? >> it's a huge loss. >> reporter: redding admits she still struggles to explain her transformation even to herself. >> i am the one who is going to have to answer for this.
i'm the one who is going to have to answer for what i've done with my life. >> reporter: do you feel confident about that moment? >> it's in the best of hands. >> reporter: dan harris, abc news, new york. >> we have a death to report tonight. one from the world's greatest choreographers. merce cunningham helped revolutionize modern dance with his own powerful moves on stage then creator of more than 100 works who rewrote the rules. sometimes chose steps by tossing a coin or throwing dice. as playful as cunningham seemed was always one of america's serious artists. he needed a wheelair later in life but used a computer to create dances that were a celebration of movement. create dances that were a celebration of movement. he dd he was 90 years old. when we come back going to the movies for a film that is as bad as it gets. a heart attack caused by a clot, one that could be fatal.
but plavix helps save lives. plavix, taken with other heart medicines goes beyond what other heart medicines do alone to provide greater protection against heart attack or .stroke and even death, by helping to keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots. ask your doctor abou plavix,, protection that heps save lives., (female announcer) if you have stomach .ulcer or other condition that causes bleeding, you should not use plavix. when taking plavix alone or with some other medicines including aspirin, the risk of bleeding may increase so tell your doctor before planning surgery. and always talk to your octor before taking aspirin or other medicines with plavix, especially if you've had a stroke. if you develop fever or unexplained weakness .or confusion, tell your doctor promptly as these may be signs of a rarbut potentially # life-threatening condition called ttp, which has een reported rarely,, sometimes in less than two weeks after starting therapy. other rare but serious side effects may occur. (male announcer) if you take plavix with oter heart medicines continuing to .do so will help, increase your protection against a future heart attack or stroke beyond your other hert medicines alone. you may be feeling better but yor risk never goes away.
finally, did you ever say to a friend, see something terrible at the movies this weekend? there's a movie called the "citizen cane" of bad movies. the epitome of retchedness. many see it multiple times. here's alex stone. >> reporter: you'd think these crowds were lined up to see a hollywood blockbuster. >> it's the best movie-going experience, truly. >> reporter: but chances are, you've never even heard of the film they're waiting to see. >> hey, bab. >> reporter: and for good reason. "the room" has been called the worst movie ever made. >> i seriously think that it was supposed to be a drama that went terribly wrong in production. >> reporter: the acting is, well, bad. the shots are out of focus. and parts of the movie just make no sense. >> you are tearing me apart, lisa! >> reporter: but "the room" has
>> reporter: this might not be the only bad movie wiseau makes. there are rumors now of a sequel. alex stone, abc news, los angeles. and that is "world news" for this monday. i'm charlie gibson and i hope you had a good day. for all of us at abc news, have you had a good day. for all of us at abc news, have a good night. captions by vitac